Northern Ireland leaders struggle to quell the worst violence in a few years

Belfast — Northern Ireland’s shared power government set aside faction differences on Thursday, and frustration among pro-British union members over trade barriers after Brexit is some of the worst violence in the region in years. After causing, I called for calm.

Despite the appeal, the clash spread further to Ireland’s nationalist region on Thursday night, where police responded to a stone attack with Molotov cocktails and water cannons. The White House has joined the British and Irish governments to help calm down.

Memories of decades of inter-denominational and political conflicts in which hundreds of young people in Belfast, the British capital, set fire to a hijacked bus and killed about 3,600 people before the 1998 peace agreement. He attacked the police with a stone on Wednesday in a reviving scene.

A week of violence injured 55 police officers and arrested boys aged 13 and 14 on suspicion of riots.

Protest in Belfast
On April 8, 2021, rioters throw a burning bottle at police on Springfield Road as protests continue in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Jason Keandaf / Reuters)

“We are all seriously concerned about the scene we all witnessed in our city,” a compulsory coalition led by rival pro-Irish Catholic nationalists and pro-British Protestant members said in a statement. Stated.

“Our political position is very different on many issues, but we are all united in support of law and order, and we collectively express our support for the police. “The statement said.

The British and Irish prime ministers met and a White House spokesman said the Biden administration was concerned. The US State Department has warned that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement will not be a “victim” of Brexit.

Irish nationalist Sinn Féin and others oppose new trade barriers that Arlene Foster’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) feels have wiped out some of Britain’s identity. He accused him of inciting.

Protest in Belfast
Riots react when police use water cannons on Springfield Road as protests continue in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 8, 2021. (Jason Keandaf / Reuters)

Checks and tariffs have been introduced on some goods moving from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland after London left the European Union (EU) orbit earlier this year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised that as a result of Brexit, there will be no tight borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and no free trade between the state and the rest of Britain.

However, critics of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Departure Agreement say the border is now valid in the Irish Sea and members feel betrayed by London.

On Thursday, Johnson sent Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis to Belfast to meet with political and community leaders to calm the situation.

“I fully understand the challenges and other issues that people in the unionist community felt about the Protocol,” Lewis told journalists after the meeting. But “there is no justification or excuse for violence.”

Protest in Belfast
Riots are watching fireworks launch near a police car on Springfield Road as protests continue in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 8, 2021. (Jason Keandaf / Reuters)

“Destruction and despair”

DUP also pointed out last week police’s decision not to prosecute the Sinn Féin party for a large funeral that violated COVID-19 regulations. They asked the Northern Ireland police chief to resign the matter, but party leader Arlene Foster met him on Thursday to ease tensions.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said many factors were the cause of anger, and the post-Brexit trade agreement was clearly one of them.

Much of Northern Ireland is still deeply divided, 23 years after the Good Friday deal. Many nationalists want to unite with Ireland, but unionists want to stay in the UK.

Protest in Belfast
On April 8, 2021, a mob threw things at police on Springfield Road as protests continued in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Jason Keandaf / Reuters)

Police said Thursday that adults were applauding and screaming while young people were committing violent crimes.

On Wednesday, a group of Irish nationalists and pro-British royalists fired fireworks from either side of Belfast’s so-called “peace wall,” which has divided the two communities in parts of the city since Northern Ireland. I threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at each other. Ireland’s “trouble” has begun.

The Kuomintang-police clash on Thursday occurred nearby, but it was much quieter and some of the crowd dispersed under heavy rain.

By Jason Cairnduff. Additional reporting and writing by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries in Dublin.